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Ravel, Resphigi & Granados Violin Sonatas
Frederieke Saejis - Violin
Maurice Lammerts van Bueren - Piano
Naxos 8.572093

Naxos has recently released two CDs of lesser known Romantic and Impressionist music; a recording of violin sonatas by Ravel, Respighi and Granados and a CD of quartets by the Kiwi composer Alfred Hill.

The best known of all these, Ravel’s Violin Sonata, is sensitively handled. Frederieke Saejis (read her account of the studio recording process) plays with ravishing beauty, producing a warm gutsy sound. I would have liked the second movement (Blues) to have been less restrained, more jazzy rather than refined classicism:- see Kyoko Yonemoto on youtube for wild, carefree playing.

The ensemble between Frederieke Saejis and Maurice Lammerts van Beuren is excellent throughout their CD and they more than do justice to Respighi’s highly charged romanticism and the sensuous Spanish lyricism in Granados‘ Violin Sonata; a real gem. The piano is beautifully resonant in the recording; there are, however, a few instances (for example the Finale of the Ravel), where a harder articulation would have provided more pizzaz.

Alfred Hill String Quartets Vol. 3

String Quartet No.5 in E flat major 'The Allies';
No.7 in A major; No.9 in A minor

Dominion Quartet
Yury Gezentsvey/ Rosemary Harris/ David Pucher - Violin
Donald Maurice - Viola
David Chickering - Cello

Naxos 8572446

Dedicated to recording quartets by composers from New Zealand - not a country renowned for its classical composers - the Dominion String Quartet put plenty of zeal into their performance. The quartets reflect the eclectic influences on Alfred Hill. Having lived in New Zealand from the ages of two to seventeen, he then studied in Leipzig in the era of Brahms, Dvorak, Tchaikovsky and Strauss before spending the rest of his life in New Zealand and Australia. Romantic, Folk and Impressionist influences can all be detected. The music contains much pastiche and is somewhat kitsch at times; it may not be the greatest music but it is certainly fun and keeps the listener entertained.

The liner notes for both CDs are informative, but they would be easier to read* with subtitles/bold print for separate works, rather than as a single block of text. A slightly larger font would also be appreciated.

Anna Michel

* See article CD insert Booklets [Editor]